Two companies of former President Donald Trump were convicted of 17 charges in a criminal tax fraud scheme Tuesday, casting new doubt over Trump's 2024 presidential campaign.
Trump himself was not charged. The case focused on the Trump Corporation and the Trump Payroll Corp. giving off-the-books perks to high-ranking executives, including cars, apartments and other items.
Trump officially announced his presidential bid on Nov. 15, despite more than a dozen investigations and lawsuits he faces from a number of federal and state agencies and private litigants.
The Trump Corporation was found guilty on all nine criminal counts and the Trump Payroll Corp. was found guilty on all eight criminal counts. The verdicts were announced in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 13. The companies could be fined up to $1.6 million.
Some have suggested Trump's early declaration for the presidency could shield him from some of these investigations, including those scrutinizing his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol building or efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
But legal sources cited by Politifact say being a candidate does not protect Trump from criminal prosecution. And former presidents can be prosecuted for their actions during their presidencies, the Constitution states.
The exception is the Justice Department, which, in the interest of being nonpartisan, usually does not instigate political charges or investigations within about 60 days of an election, Politifact says.
- Lots of firsts: Scandals give Trump unique place in presidential history.
A USA TODAY review of pending actions against Trump found six lawsuits related to Jan. 6, three investigations into alleged tax fraud by Trump businesses and a Justice Department probe into the removal of classified documents from the White House after Trump's presidency ended.
Lawsuits ranged from tax documents to Jan. 6 riot
Where litigation, probes are taking place
Jan. 6 suits lead litigation against Trump
About a third of the suits Trump faces involve the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Investigations, litigation and court filings against Trump or his businesses include these accusations:
Overturning 2020 election
Feb. 9, 2021 | Criminal investigation: Fani T. Willis, district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, opens an investigation into whether Trump and associates tried to overturn the Georgia results of the 2020 presidential election. A special grand jury, which could be in place as long as a year, was chosen on May 2.
Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani appeared before the grand jury for six hours on Aug. 17. A federal judge ruled on Aug. 15 that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump supporter, must also testify before the grand jury.
Graham appealed. A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the subpoena on Aug. 21, ruling that prosecutors must determine if Graham, as a senator, is exempt from giving testifying under the Constitution’s speech and debate clause. The clause prevents lawmakers from being questioned about their legislative duties.
On Nov. 1, the Supreme Court rejected Graham's appeal to block the subpoena for him to testify.
Inciting Jan. 6 Capitol riot
July 1, 2021 | Congressional hearings: The House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is formed. The committee holds nine hearings in which presidential aides testify that Trump did nothing to stop the riot.
Status: Committee hearings are over.
In its last hearing, the committee voted Oct. 13 to subpoena Trump. It issued the subpoena on Oct. 21 and said the former president had a "central role in a deliberate, orchestrated effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and block the transfer of presidential power."
On Nov. 14, committee members said Trump failed to comply with the subpoena and had filed a lawsuit asking for protection from testifying.
Feb. 16, 2021 | Lawsuit: NAACP sues Trump and Giuliani for violating the Ku Klux Klan Act and conspiring with white supremacists to incite the riot. On Feb. 18, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Trump could not claim immunity from the suit, allowing it to proceed.
Trump has also been sued by a California congressman and nearly a dozen Capitol Police officers in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. All of these are pending:
- March 5, 2021: Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., one of the House prosecutors in Trump's second impeachment trial, files a civil lawsuit against Trump, Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr., and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., for inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
- Aug. 26, 2021: Seven Capitol Police officers sue Trump and others in U.S. District Court in Washington for injuries sustained in the riot.
- Jan. 4, 2022: An eighth Capitol Police officer sues Trump in U.S. District Court in Washington for physical and emotional injuries sustained in the riot.
- Jan. 5, 2022: Two more Capitol Police officers sue Trump for injuries in the riot.
- Jan. 6, 2022: An 11th Capitol Police officer sues Trump for injuries in the riot.
Aug. 8, 2022 | Search conducted: FBI agents search Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, and remove 11 sets of classified documents. The operation, conducted with a search warrant, is part of an investigation of possible violations of the Espionage Act.
The Justice Department is investigating Trump for removing presidential records from the White House and storing them at Mar-a-Lago for up to a year, a potentially serious violation if the records were classified.
On Nov. 14, the Washington Post cited federal agents and prosecutors as saying Trump's ego was the motive for keeping the documents, not financial gain
July 2, 2019 | Lawsuit: Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sues Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to obtain six years of Trump's tax returns.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Aug. 9, that the committee can obtain the records from the IRS.
Trump asked the Supreme Court for a delay in order to prepare a formal appeal. On Nov. 1, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts granted a stay, giving the House committee until Nov. 10 to file a response.
The committee and the Justice Department responded on Nov. 10 with a 30-page filing that asked the court to reject Trump's request to delay releasing his tax records.
Aug. 24, 2020 | Investigation: New York Attorney General Letitia James opens an investigation into the Trump Organization's financial operation. The focus is on whether financial statements inflated asset values for better loans and insurance while also deflating the value of other assets to reduce real estate taxes. In a deposition on Aug. 10, Trump invokes the Fifth Amendment 400 times in refusing to answer questions.
July 1, 2021 | Criminal charges: Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's office charge the Trump Organization with a 15-year scheme in which executives avoided taxes by being compensated with undisclosed benefits. Trump was not personally charged.
Status: The two companies were found guilty on Dec. 6.
CFO Allen Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to 15 charges of evading taxes. The plea bargain means Weisselberg will spend three to five months in jail but he also testified as a prosecution witness.
Oct. 20, 2021 | Investigation: The district attorney of Westchester County, New York, subpoenas records from the Trump National Golf Club Westchester. The investigation appears to focus on whether the Trump Organization misrepresented property values for lower tax rates, the New York Times reported.
Sept. 9, 2015 | Civil suit: Five activists file a civil suit in September accusing Trump of ordering Trump Tower security guards to assault them during a protest. Trump was deposed under oath for more than four hours on Oct. 19, 2021. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified on May 9 that Trump directed the assault.
Status: The case was settled out of court on Nov. 2. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Oct. 29, 2018 | Class action suit: Four individuals sue Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Trump companies in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with a claim of investment fraud over a marketing plan to sell video phones.
Trump family members agree on June 3, 2022, to give depositions. The case is Catherine McKoy v. Trump Corp.
Trump answered questions in October.
Nov. 4, 2019 | Lawsuit: Author E. Jean Carroll sues Trump for defamation when he denied her accusation of rape in the 1990s. Trump said Carroll was lying and that the accusation was politically motivated.
Dec. 16, 2019 | Lawsuit: Cohen sues Trump in Manhattan federal court, saying Trump retaliated against him for writing a memoir critical of Trump. Cohen said Trump had him returned to prison after he was released to home confinement following a COVID-19 outbreak in federal prisons.
Status: A federal judge dismissed Cohen's case on Nov. 14.
Oct. 2, 2020 | Class action suit: Tenants who lived in apartment buildings once owned by Trump's father Fred sue Trump and family members in New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn with an accusation of fraudulently increasing rents.
Status: Ongoing. Tenants filed an amended class action suit on March 11.
SOURCE USA TODAY Network reporting and research; Associated Press